Why dinning early is a challenge!

what should you have for dinner

what should you have for dinner

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”

We have been repeatedly told to “eat dinner like a pauper”. It simply implies that we need to eat sparingly in dinner.

But,  imagine a typical scenario in Indian households:

Men come home late from work – Reason ? Stuck in traffic , project deadline, etc. Once home, the man is voraciously hungry because most of the time they may have not eaten anything post lunch. Even children eat lunch at school/college and dinner is usually the only meal with family.

The wife, having missed lunch time with husband and children as she might have her own work commitments or maybe just missing the company, wants to enjoy the last meal and ensure good family bonding time. What has she cooked for this special occasion ? Favourite items of the family members (read junk food) loosely termed as VARIETY . Often people tell me that they don’t like to eat roti subji at night, it has to be something different – some variety!

And this leads to inclusion of dishes like pasta, pav bhaji, malai kofta naan, chole kulche, butter chicken, mutton biryani, etc. in dinner menu! And not to forget, the special sweet treats that have been kept aside for the evening meal when everyone is present.

And this may not be too different in a scenario where both husband and wife are working professionals and grappling with deadlines, client issues, traffic jams, kids’ schedule on a daily basis!

The result?

A hearty meal with all the fat, simple carbs and calories makes family happy but leaves the body in deep trouble. it’s like dumping a new cumbersome project to complete with a deadline of an hour or two max.

Your body has very little time left to complete the whole process of digestion, absorption and assimilation before going to rest. When you sleep, all the physiological processes will also start resting. The simpler way out for the body is to send the excess for storage as fat to be utilized later. We cannot utilize that much energy during sleep , can you? 

Fixing the problem

Make eating  pleasurable experience for the body and not just the mind. So eat when you are hungry and not based on schedules

Our metabolism slows down after sunset. We might experience extreme hunger around 6pm, which is actually the time to eat the last good meal. If the right type and amount of food is eaten at this time, then one can skip dinner or eat very light meal

Right food:

Foods rich in proteins such as well cooked beans, steamed sprouts, low fat paneer, low fat milk products can be helpful.

Foods rich in fiber such as vegetables like palak (spinach), methi (fenugreek), lettuce, avocados, carrots, gourd vegetables, etc and the more moisture-dense fruits such as apple, oranges, papaya, watermelon, figs, etc are also some things you can include in the meal.

Avoid simple carbohydrates like maida, bakery products, sugar, etc

Right amount:

Small portion – eat like a pauper!

Some quick and healthy dinner ideas :

  • Vegetable uttapam
  • Mexican pasta (with beans and red sauce)
  • Methi muthiya
  • Vegetable handwa
  • Voy pulao with cucumber raita
  • Home-made chenna paratha with veg raita
  • Mini idlis sauteed with vegetables and spices
  • Rajma with brown rice
  • Grilled fish with stir fried vegetables
  • Grilled chicken sandwich in brown bread


Stay healthy with eKincare – your personal health manager!

Author: drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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